UPDATED: December 19, 2018
Holiday travel can be hectic and stressful. According to a recent press release from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), between Dec. 19 and Jan. 5, an estimated 41 million passengers will travel through security screening checkpoints nationwide, an increase of 6 percent from 2017.
The TSA recommends that travelers arrive early to allow enough time to check in and get through the security screening process. In addition to screening personal electronic devices separately, including laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles, TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate other items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine. Keeping carry-on bags organized can ease the screening process and keep the lines moving.
To ease the stress and ensure that you get to your destination safe, check out our additional Holiday Travel Tips below:
U.S. Citizen Traveling Abroad. If you are a U.S. citizen planning to travel abroad, you must comply with the document requirements for that country. Read the Department of State’s Traveler’s Checklist to find out things to consider before you go. Pay special attention to the safety and security information and assess the risk of traveling to a particular country or region. Some U.S. citizens with special considerations – such as students, women, and LGBTI travelers – may face additional challenges when abroad. Take all the travel documents required for the countries you are visiting, as well as identification for your U.S. reentry. U.S. citizens need passports to reenter the country by air.
Check your Passport! Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met. Check the Department of State’s Country Information to learn about entry and exit requirements for the country or countries in which you are traveling.
Green Card Holders Traveling Abroad. Know your rights! Each time a non-citizen, including a green card holder (permanent resident), enters the United States after travel abroad, the person is subjected to a thorough questioning by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agent, who will determine whether the person should be allowed entry into the United States. If you are a green card holder planning an overseas trip, read our Know Your Rights information for green card holders detained at ports of entry, before you travel. To avoid delays and problems, you should consult an immigration attorney before you travel if you have a criminal history, an immigration application pending or anything in your background that might cause CBP to detain you upon entry into the United States.
Individuals in the marijuana industry. As of the end of 2018, the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal in 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and recreational use is legal in nine U.S. states. In addition, as of October 17, 2018, Canada has legalized recreational marijuana use nationwide, joining Uruguay. A foreign national working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry abroad, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S. However, if CBP determines that the person’s intent in entering the U.S. is related to the marijuana industry, then they may encounter issues entering the country. Foreign nationals who are entering the U.S. are faced with two options when questioned on marijuana use or related activities: 1) decline to respond to questioning and withdraw the application for admission; or 2) truthfully respond to questioning and if found inadmissible, be prepared to seek a waiver if available. Read more on CBP’s statement on Marijuana Legalization here.
Check your I-94 after every overseas travel. Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record is a foreign visitor's record of entry into and departure from the United States. Check your I-94 and Travel History every time you travel to save you the hassle of having to correct errors on your arrival/departure record. If you notice any errors on your I-94, read our 5 Tips for Correcting Errors on Your I-94.
If you have questions and concerns about traveling outside and returning back to the United States, please contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Tumblr for up-to-date immigration news.
Rasoulpour Torregoza is the law firm for immigrants, by immigrants. We are founded on the motto of LegalEase: we do away with the legal jargon and make law easy to understand, so you can focus on what’s important to you – going for your American Dream.
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